It only takes one. This phrase became my personal motto as I experienced an endless series of lackluster dates during my first few months as a member of the local online dating scene. Despite my lack of success initially, I reasoned that the barrage of disappointing encounters would be well worth the effort when I finally really and truly clicked with someone.
I slowly began to doubt my initial positivity as each date during those months seemed like a carbon copy of the last one; I was usually disappointed by my utter lack of attraction to my companion as I strained to find any common interests to discuss. After my first few dates, I started preparing for filler questions about universally popular topics that would likely lend themselves to possible commonalities, such as favorite recent movie or sports teams. When I would discover (somewhat frequently) that my date wasn’t a sports fan or didn’t enjoy watching movies of any kind, my mind would wander off to potential escape plans or the comfort of my couch, which often seemed like a much more appealing alternative.
Despite my less-than-stellar experiences, I still tried to schedule as many dates as possible each week because I knew that online dating was a numbers game: I was unlikely to find someone I actually liked unless I attempted to meet as many candidates as possible. However, due to sheer exhaustion and my increasing disillusionment with the process, I finally told a friend that I was planning to drastically slow down my dating schedule after the next few meet-ups. Sitting on my couch and watching reality TV alone seemed like a much more appealing alternative to another unmemorable outing.
Prior to my decision to take a break from my hectic blind dating program, I messaged a potential candidate I had stumbled across while perusing my options (being proactive is one of my online dating pearls of wisdom). We had agreed to meet for drinks at Tracey’s for happy hour the upcoming Thursday (tip #2: weekday encounters are a must for the first meet-up). Dreading another bleak affair, I was already mentally skipping ahead and looking forward to my dinner plans later that evening.
I was running late due to a work meeting, so I entered the bar a little rushed and flustered. I spotted my date, Kyle, and apologized profusely for running late. After recovering my composure, I realized that I was pleasantly surprised that this guy actually looked like his profile photos. This fact alone ensured that the date was off to a better start that I had anticipated (my expectations for a great first encounter had obviously plummeted since first joining the NOLA online dating scene).
We grabbed drinks and sat down to chat. I had expected the usual banter about our backgrounds, popular culture likes and dislikes and so on. However, I was once again pleasantly surprised, as our conversation took an unexpected, and much more interesting, turn. Because Kyle is 6’4’’, I immediately commented on my personal views in regard to life as a tall person (as I’ve mentioned previously, I’m 5’10’’ and a bit obsessed with height). What could have been merely a simple observation turned into an hour-long discussion about our theories about tall people (for example, why tall guys always go for the five-foot-nothing girls). We both had many thoughts and opinions about such important topics. We also swapped amusing online dating stories; I seemed to attract guys who were really into martial arts, while he had been on more than one date with a girl who owned a horse. This dating scene is not for the faint of heart.
I was amazed that the entire evening was so effortless. When we got up to leave, I realized that four hours had flown by. I had even forgotten to eat dinner, an oversight that, as a New Orleans girl, rarely (if ever) occurs. I knew what it should feel like to click with someone, but I had never experienced such a great first date. I left smiling, with a renewed faith that this way of finding a partner could, in fact, work.
Shortly after our third date, I canceled two upcoming blind dates by explaining that I had met someone and wanted to see where it went. Both guys were surprisingly understanding and wished me well (tip #3: honestly is by far the best policy in this sort of situation).
I have spent almost all of my free time with Kyle since we met and the relationship feels comfortable and easy. I share this story not merely as a means to gush about the great guy I met (an impulse that is admittedly hard to control). I do so because I am shocked at how I feel now versus when I was inspired to write my introductory article for this column. It’s funny and reassuring how quickly one’s romantic situation can change.
I’ve heard countless times from friends and family that “everything happens for a reason.” When I was younger I thought this sentiment was a lame excuse one used when things didn’t work out. Now I view this phrase as an outlook rather than a belief. We all take paths in life and wonder about the road not taken. Yet, such an inclination is often fruitless. As much as I wish I had could go back in time via my very own DaLorean in order to right my disastrous dating wrongs, our only option is to move forward. Consequently, maybe things do happen for a reason because it molds us into who we are and who we will become.
I also believe that no one should have to settle when entering into a relationship because there truly is someone out there for everyone. There will always be relationship failures and what-could-have-beens, but there will also always be the possibility that you might walk into a bar one day and meet an amazing guy who shares your sense of humor, crazy theories and love of the NFL (even if he is a Seahawks fan).
While I can no more predict the future than I can change the past, I have a good feeling about this one.
Note: For the first time, names and other details have NOT been changed for the purpose of this story, and this formerly single NOLA girl is officially off the market. However, I plan to continue my column because I still have plenty of relationship tales to tell and insights to share.